From the beginning, there was concern the legal market would

Surge In Illegal California Pot Shops Undercuts Legal Market

From the beginning, there was concern the legal market would be undercut by the massive canada goose outlet canada black market that has existed for decades. And that’s what’s happening. ]]>department! Search warrant! a Los Angeles County deputy shouted as the team thundered through the front door and began hauling out people in handcuffs.The Compton 20 Cap Collective just south of Los Angeles that was raided earlier this spring is one of hundreds of illegal marijuana stores operating in LA County, where marijuana is legal for anyone 21 and over and retailers must be licensed to sell to them.Broad marijuana legalization arrived canada goose factory outlet in California at the start of the year. From the beginning, there was concern the legal market would be undercut by the massive black canada goose outlet store market that has existed for decades.And that what happening. Nowhere is it a bigger problem than in the state biggest legal local marijuana market: Los Angeles County.The number of outlaw dispensaries in the county greatly outnumbers about 150 licensed storefront retailers.That reality is a buzzkill for those trying to play by the rules.Legal pot shopsare losing customers who can get products more cheaply at illegal outlets that don charge or pay taxes, said Adam Spiker, executive director of the Southern California Coalition, a trade organization that represents cannabis growers, distributors and dispensary owners.It an competitive situation for licensed businesses, Spiker said.think canada goose outlet reviews if you turn canada goose outlet new york city the tables and took cannabis out of the equation if it was another industry that didn have the stigmas the government would do everything they could to official canada goose outlet give those licensed business paying taxes a level playing field. of the selling points for legalization was it would generate a tax windfall for state and local governments. However, during the first quarter, the state reported only $34 million from cultivation and excise taxes, putting it on pace to fall well below the $175 million forecast for the first six months.In April, state regulators sent nearly 1,000 cease and desist letters to cannabis businesses they suspected were operating illegally. An analysis by the trade publicationMarijuana Business Dailyfound about 64 percent of the businesses were in the Los Angeles metropolitan area.Last month, the Los Angeles city attorney canada goose outlet store uk office charged 142 people as part of a crackdown on illegal dispensaries. It also sent cease and desist letters but declined to say how many.Los Angeles County boasts the nation largest sheriff department, but even it has nowhere near the manpower to take down all the illegal pot shops. A task force overseen by Lt. Frank Montez raids an average of one dispensary a week.However, the voter approved ballot measure legalizing cannabis in California included a provision that goose outlet canada made possessing more than 28.5 grams only a misdemeanor. That means officers can seize businesses cash and marijuana, but employees and owners rarely face canada goose outlet uk jail, and illegal operations often quickly reopen.a money lucrative business so there are people willing to take the risk, said Capt. Holly Francisco, who commands the sheriff department narcotics unit.Montez sees his work as more than code enforcement. Marijuana sold illegally may be tainted with illegal pesticides and other harmful substances. And licensed marijuana shop owners who pay their taxes should have a fair playing field, he have an illegitimate, illegal dispensary operating, that not only hurts the industry canada goose outlet in usa as a whole but that really hurts the community, Montez said.At the Compton store, a sign above a security window says customers must be at least 18 and have canada goose outlet a physician recommendation to buy medical marijuana and be 21 and have a valid photo ID for anything else. canada goose outlet sale Like many others, the shop operated in plain sight and canada goose outlet online advertised online, including on WeedMaps, a go to website for people looking to buy cannabis.Inside, whiteboards on dirt smudged walls advertised the prices for different types of cannabis and concentrates.Cartridges for vapor pens and a honey like oil containing cannabis extract, cost between $15 and $30. Large display cases held jars of branded marijuana strains 28 grams of Dragon sold for $160.out here on the street are thinking it canada goose outlet nyc is a legitimate operation and are smoking this cannabis with all these dangerous pesticides, and they are really killing themselves, Montez said.Some illegal pot shops look so legitimate that customers may not even realize they are illegal unless they figure out they aren being charged tax. But like any shopper looking for the best deal, plenty know these places are illegal and go because it cheaper. pot.Lake County, about 125 miles (201 kilometers) north of San Francisco, is home to many such grows because of its topography, which allows pot farmers to easily hide large operations. It has an abundance of federal and state forests and land where cartels set up operations.Like the LA County Sheriff Department, Lake County lacks the manpower to put much of a dent in illegal operations.Deputies patrol on the ground and in helicopters, and last year they destroyed about 250,000 plants and canada goose outlet online uk arrested 46 people for illegal grows, Sheriff Brian Martin said.He has no estimate for the number of illegal grows in the county but is confident the hundreds of thousands of plants deputies chop down each year are the tip of the iceberg. said his short staffed department has assigned a single a detective full time to marijuana eradication. He canada goose outlet black friday counts on help from state and federal agencies, but they too have their priorities.

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